One of the best things about living in North America is the possibility of epic road trips! If you like road trips to reach fabulous mountain vistas, then you’ll want US & Canadian Rocky Mountains Road Trip by Becky Lomax. When planning a road trip around the Rockies, this guide will help you find the best sights; And more importantly, the best hikes.
I received a free copy of this book from the publishers, but I am genuinely chuffed with it and have been using it to plan our next road trip for summer 2022.
Normally when I buy a new hiking guide, I wait until I have visited and experienced plenty of the hikes before I review it. However we already visited four of the National Parks covered by the book. Before each road trip, I spend hooours pouring over maps, planning and researching possible hikes. So I feel qualified to comment on the areas of the book that I have already visited. So, this review is just for the Canadian National Parks covered by the book.
What does the book include
If you are planning a road trip (or multiple road trips!) this guide covers the following National Parks: Jasper, Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Waterton, Glacier (the US one, not the Canadian one), Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Rocky Mountain National Park. Becky has highlighted the best experiences for each park. There are soooo many details! From fees, transport options, and info about towns and visitor centers to listing possible hikes, viewpoints, camping spots and possible adventures. Seriously, it is impressive how many details are squished into this book!
US & Canadian Rocky Mountains Road Trip – Maps
The maps in this book are useful for getting your bearings and understanding an overview of each National Park (there are also maps for cities and some of the resort towns that you’ll want to visit.) However they are not good if you want to see nitty gritty about hikes along the way. You’ll need to use apps or paper maps to see the details when you get out walking.
Becky’s hike descriptions will get you excited to get out onto the trails! The book lists the length, duration, elevation gain and relative effort of each hike. The descriptions seem to be aimed at newer hikers (some of trails listed as moderate I consider pretty easy, and some strenuous hikes I consider moderate.) However the book also lists some of the incredible backpacking ideas and mountaineering options. It is a perfect taster to help you choose hikes; But it’s likely you’ll also want to consult other specific hiking guides to find more details once you have used this guide to make a basic plan.
There are soooo many details that I appreciate in US & Canadian Rocky Mountains Road Trip.
- There are “one day in x” itineraries for each location.
- Notes about the wildlife that you may get to see.
- Side trips to explore nearby Provincial Parks (in Canada) or State Parks (in the USA.)
- Fabulous photos that’ll nudge you to explore each region to the fullest.
- If there are hot springs nearby, they’ll be listed.
- If they’ll be decent cell service in each location.
- Gas stations and charging stations (for electric vehicle folks)
- Info for LBGTQ+ travelers, senior travellers as well as tips for road trips with kids
I also really appreciate the way the guide links each park together (which is perfect for road trips!) For example, I am planning a trip to Waterton Lakes this summer. For a quick example, before reading this book, I had not realized that you can take a boat to the American side of Waterton Lake and hike into Glacier National Park.
Conscientious Travel Tips
Most of the books I have reviewed are specifically about the hikes, so they always seem to include information about leave no trace. This book is more aimed at drivers, but I love that it includes tips for slow travel that will have minimal impact on the beautiful areas you are travelling through. It (of course) covers leave no trace and wildlife viewing/photography.
If you are planning a road trip to any of the National Parks in the Rocky Mountains, then this book will be useful for you. I honestly wish I had it when I was creating my first road trips to Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks! Now I have it, I feel ready to do some epic road trips south of the border in the USA too.
If you’d like to read more about our road trips to the Rockies I have a few more posts you might like:
Or, if you are looking for other hiking guides, take a look at 105 hikes and Destination hikes by Stephen Hui. Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia by Taryn Eyton and last but not least, The Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore by David Crerar, Bill Maurer and Harry Crerar.